Working in the United States
H-1C Registered Nurse Working in a Health Professional Shortage Area as Determined by the Department of Labor
This classification expired as of December 20, 2009.
The H-1C nonimmigrant temporary worker classification is for foreign nurses coming to the United States temporarily to perform services as a registered nurse in a health professional shortage area as determined by the Department of Labor (DOL).
The H-1C nonimmigrant category was introduced in 1999 specifically to address the shortage of nurses in the United States. Applying for an H-1C nonimmigrant visa is a multi-step process that involves coordination from DOL and USCIS. Prior to filing a petition with USCIS for an H-1C visa, DOL must provide an attestation to petitioning hospitals certifying that they meet the qualifications as required by regulation. Among the qualifications, hospitals are required to be located in a “health professional shortage area.”
To qualify for an H-1C visa you must:
The employer must meet edibility criteria in order to file a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, under the H-1C Program. To qualify, the U.S. employer must:
For more information, see the “Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor” link to the right.
The Form I-129 must include the following documents:
Applying for a Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
If your Form I-129 is approved, we will send an approval notice on a Form I-797, Notice of Action, to your employer, who in turn will forward it to you. A Form I-797 approval notice may be used to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Before applying for your visa, please check with the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will apply for their specific application requirements.
The following is required on the appointment date:
Period of Stay/Extension of Stay
Change of Employer
H-1C nonimmigrant classification is limited to employment with the specific hospital that filed the petition. A change of employer requires your new employer to file a new Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. You cannot begin working for new employer until your Form I-129 is approved.
Family of H-1C Visa Holders
Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to H-4 classification. H-4 is the nonimmigrant classification for dependents of H principal aliens. Your dependents may not work in the United States under the H-4 classification.
H-1C Visa Cap
Only 500 H-1C visas will be issued each fiscal year. Also, there are numerical limitations for each state based on the state’s population. The cap for states with populations in excess of 9 million is 50 per fiscal year. The cap for states with populations of 9 million or less is 25 per fiscal year.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/17/2013